Georgia's Dean Pringle Talks with CAB About the Importance of Efficiency and Carcass Quality in CattleTue, 23 Jul 2019 16:47:47 CDT
Effieicency AND carcass quality in cattle
A Georgia animal scientist’s research goals include understanding the biology of efficiency in beef production. Recent work explores whether there are conflicting goals for ranchers, feeders and consumers.
To find out how to select efficient cattle, we have to sort out and use animals from both ends of the spectrum, as seen in this University of Georgia research.
“We started off with a group of cows that we selected, where we selected bulls that were high for residual average daily gain and low for residual average daily gain," said Dean Pringle, University of Georgia animal scientist. "Again, from a commercial standpoint we wouldn't necessarily want those low efficiency animals, but we felt like it was important for us to focus on developing these diverse populations for future studies.”
To watch a short video clip featuring Dean Pringle, University of Georgia, talking about the importance of effeciency and carcass quality, click or tap the PLAYBOX in the window, below.
Meat science says it’s easier to efficiently create protein than fat or lipid, so Pringle wondered if it’s possible to maintain high carcass quality with more profitable growth and finishing.
“Because we know that a lipid is less efficient to produce in the animal than protein," Pringle said. "That was the question that kept coming into the back of my mind is, as we chase this efficiency, are we going to be impacting carcass merit in those animals? And so within each efficiency group we also selected a portion of those bulls that were in the top 5% of the breed for marbling. Then we shop for breed average for half of those bulls that were used in the high- and the low-feed-efficiency group.”
Shopping and selecting for genetics led to unique lines of predominantly Angus cattle.
"So we had really four different lines of cattle that we started developing and are continuing to develop: one that's high efficiency with high marbling, one that is low efficiency with high marbling, one that's high efficiency with breed average marbling, and then one that's low efficiency with breed average marbling as well," he said.
The researchers found that the cattle more efficient in feed conversion also ate less feed than average, but carcass quality was not affected.
"So that validated to us that if a producer uses that residual average daily gain EPD as part of their selection criteria, they should in fact over time produce more efficient animals," he added. "The interesting thing was that we did not seem to impact carcass quality at all. From a meat scientist standpoint, I was glad to see that those two traits seem to be somewhat disconnected genetically."
That’s good news for all who aim to improve efficiency in beef cattle while maintaining progress on carcass and maternal traits.
"They don't have to give up carcass quality in order to improve efficiency. … And it is incredibly important for us to improve efficiency, but as we chase after that, we have to make sure that we don't negatively impact female productivity as well," Pringle said.
Source: Certified Angus Beef
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